Martin Luther King Day - New York
- April 22: Celtics Finish Off Year 1 of Rebuild Process
- April 18: Ties Broken for NBA Draft 2014 Order of Selection
- April 17: Inside the Numbers: Draft Lottery Q&A
- April 17: Celts Should Be Proud of Their Final Chapter
- April 16: That's What He Said - Wizards at Celtics
- April 15: Boston Celtics Thank Fans for Support
- April 14: That's What He Said - Celtics at 76ers
- April 12: That's What He Said - Celtics at Cavaliers
- April 11: That's What He Said - Bobcats at Celtics
- April 09: That's What He Said - Celtics at Hawks
- April 08: Rondo, Celtics Still Have Much To Play For
- April 07: Stevens Gives Updates on AB, Sully, Hump
- April 05: That's What He Said - Celtics at Pistons
- April 04: That's What He Said - 76ers at Celtics
- April 03: Celts Moving Forward After Disappointing L
- April 02: That's What He Said - Celtics at Wizards
- April 02: Bradley Remains Questionable with Achilles
- April 01: Rondo Teams with Gorman as Color Analyst
- March 31: That's What He Said - Celtics at Bulls
- March 31: That's What He Said - Bulls at Celtics
- March 29: Stevens Debates New Lineup "Every Minute"
- March 29: That's What He Said - Celtics at Raptors
- March 26: That's What He Said - Raptors at Celtics
- March 25: C's Taste Playoffs Through Home-and-Homes
- March 24: Don't Sleep on NBA's Madness in March
- March 22: Bradley's New Routine: Tip, Tape, Torch
- March 21: That's What He Said - Celtics at Nets
- March 21: C's Talk Tourney, Downplay Notion of Upsets
- March 21: Stevens: C's Must Improve To Cut Down Nets
- March 21: Celtics Sign Babb to Multi-Year Contract
- March 20: Rondo, Celtics Take Season Series from Heat
- March 18: Bayless Sizzles in 4th To Lead Comeback Bid
- March 18: That's What He Said - Celtics at Mavericks
- March 17: Pelicans Outlast Celtics in Wild OT Thriller
- March 16: That's What He Said - Celtics at Pelicans
- March 14: That's What He Said - Suns at Celtics
- March 13: SportVu's Take on Rondo's First Two Months
- March 12: That's What He Said - Knicks at Celtics
- March 11: That's What He Said - Celtics at Pacers
- March 11: Celtics Sign Babb to Second 10-day Contract
- March 10: That's What He Said - Pistons at Celtics
- March 08: Stevens Excited To Enjoy Madness as a Fan
- March 08: Bradley Could Return as Early as Friday
- March 08: That's What He Said - Nets at Celtics
- March 07: Vitor Faverani Medical Update
- March 06: National Anthem Open Call Auditions
- March 06: Celts Lose, but Olynyk Continues To Evolve
- March 06: That's What He Said - Warriors at Celtics
- March 04: Post-ACL Rondo is Shooting the Lights Out
- March 04: C's Lose Wallace; Olynyk, Bradley Improve
- March 04: Gerald Wallace Injury Update
- March 03: Winter Warmth: Green Heats up in February
- March 02: That's What He Said - Pacers at Celtics
- February 28: Celtics Slammed With Laundry List of Injuries
- February 28: Celtics Sign Babb to 10-Day Contract
- February 27: Perfect Pair? Bayless, Rondo Excel Together
- February 27: That's What He Said - Hawks at Celtics
- February 25: That's What He Said - Celtics at Jazz
- February 23: That's What He Said - Celtics at Kings
- February 22: That's What He Said - Celtics at Lakers
(12 hours before tip)
Let me start with this.
It's true...I'm not, you know, real good with the early starts.
We're all different, of course. There are morning people, and afternoon people and night people. And whether it's genetic, or behavioral, or whatever, someone made me the latter. In fact, come to think of it, I'm not completely sure I didn't choose this particular line of work because of the hours. Where going to bed at 4 a.m. is run-of-the-mill and 7 a.m. wakeup calls are the start of a day of mainlining Red Bull.
And I suppose this day and age has become more hour-generic. The latest Britney Spears visit with the paparazzi is just as available at 5 a.m. as it is at 5 p.m. And Tom Cruise acting like Martian can be yours on YouTube 24 hours a day. It's a wonderful world.
Now Max loves these games, the ones like today's 1 p.m. start in New York. Mostly, because he knows I'm at my weakest earlier in the day and his normally ineffective, couldn't-break-an-egg verbal jabs tend to hit their target with greater regularity while the sun is still up.
And for the sake of today's discussion, I'll put aside the dichotomy of the treatment us night people get. That if you go to bed at 11 o'clock, and get up at six the next morning, you're considered a go-getter and a coffee achiever, not to mention the whole healthy, wealthy and wise thing. But if you go to bed at 4 in the morning, and don't get up 'til 10:30, you're lazy, and a blemish on society, undoubtedly destined to work alongside Danny Noonan in the lumberyard.
Perhaps, my nocturnal brothers and sisters, we'll revisit that.
But here's the truth, every day is an honor to be in the NBA.
It really is.
But none more than today.
A year ago, the Celtics were in Atlanta on this day, seventy-eight years after Martin Luther King was born there. It was pretty cool.
His name invokes different images to different people across the country and across the world. Across every line that he tried so successfully to blur. Generational, cultural and racial.
Of course, it's unlikely that of all his visions, one was ever a national day to honor his memory, a day which the NBA has adopted as its own. A national holiday around the league of matinees and celebrations to shine the spotlight the league has earned back on a man whose ideas outdistanced his life.
And that's an honor the NBA has earned, as a league where diversity isn't a distant concept, it's the reality.
Now to say Dr. King's dream was far bigger than the game, and the sport, and the league of which we're all a part of today, well, that would be one of the great understatements of the young millennium. But to say there's no correlation, no connection between the two? That's just not looking hard enough.
Dr. King's dream was that one day blacks and whites would play together. His dream was that a man would one day be judged by the content of his character, or his jump shot, or the things he brought to his world, not by the color of his skin. And his gift was delivering that most basic human message in a way that changed the world.
The lessons of this day are all around us, even now. Even here, today, at Madison Square Garden.
Six months ago, a national sports media figure tried to play what we've all been trained to call the "race card," in reference to Kevin Garnett's hesitation to be dealt to Boston. It was a reminder that there will always be people whose minds don't change with the times. A reminder that there will always be people that hang on to old perceptions and stereotypes and ideologies. Unable to see things in present day real-time.
Drinking from what Dr. King called "the cup of bitterness and hatred."
But as KG takes the floor at MSG this afternoon, wearing the green number five jersey, the same jersey you can't walk ten feet in Boston without seeing, it seems worthy of remembering that this is a love affair born of his passion for the game, the true content of his character. What could be more pure?
Boston's history is just that, its history. Major League Baseball celebrated the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson's debut last year, rather than mourning the sixty years that came before it. We have to learn from history, not re-live it. Fight the injustices that remain in our time, and neither harp on those that came before us or rest on the laurels of our progress.
In many ways, professional sports, and the NBA, can be life in a bubble. High salaries, private planes and a world that exists largely behind velvet ropes. And with the NBA's record of race-relations and community activism, we could take this day to pat ourselves on the back in a self-aggrandizing curtain call. But that's the easy way. And the easy way and the right way almost never seem to be one and the same.
We can't and we won't bury our heads, and pretend the journey that Dr. King lived for -- the journey he died for -- is anywhere close to the finish line. Not in a world where the Jena 6 stand trial, and in a week in which the cover of Golfweek magazine is a noose. We can't live in that bubble.
But we can keep setting the pace, and we can keep setting an example, by being a place where humanity is celebrated, not degraded. A place where those who succeed are those who sacrifice for the greater good.
So on this day of celebration, why not take a moment to both appreciate and be proud of our place, of sports' place, of the NBA's place in the world. Proudest especially when it leads society in race relations, rather than follows it.
It may not be the mountain top, but the view is pretty damn good.
Even first thing in the morning.